Camp Jabberwocky and the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club joined Vineyard Family Tennis this week in receiving grants totalling $750,000 from MV Youth.

Leaders of the charitable organization used the awards ceremony Wednesday as a community call to action to address the critical needs of Island youth.

Camp Jabberwocky, which serves people with disabilities, received an expansion grant of $400,000 for major renovations to its central cabin, providing more opportunities for collaboration with year-round organizations. Vineyard Family Tennis, whose grant was announced last fall, received $250,000 to replace a tennis bubble that collapsed in a storm last spring. And the Boys and Girls Club received a $100,000 grant to go toward urgent repairs of its ailing Edgartown facility.

MV Youth executive director Lindsey Scott said the organizations were selected for their demonstrated impact on the lives of Island children: the stability and support of a place to go after school, the traditions and joy of a summer at camp, and the confidence and poise that come with athletic training.

“The goal of MV Youth is very simple,” Ms. Scott told a small crowd gathered at the West Tisbury library. “That is to be supporting the Martha’s Vineyard community through its young people.”

Grants totalling $750,000 were awarded to Vineyard Family Tennis, Camp Jabberwocky and the Boys and Girls Club. — Thomas Hausthor

The grants to the Vineyard Family Tennis and the Boys and Girls Club were both described as emergency grants, aimed at fixing critical impediments to those programs.

Ronald H. Rappaport, chairman of the MV Youth Advisory Committee, spoke of the importance to the Island of the Boys and Girls Club, which serves 1,800 Island children a year, and noted that MV Youth had previously awarded the group $230,000 for urgent repairs to its Edgartown facility, including a new roof.

“The Boys and Girls Club needs a new building,” Mr. Rappaport said. “[We’re] looking at this as a call to arms to the Vineyard community. This is an organization and program which needs our support….So we’re giving them a down payment to allow them to do emergency repairs. It’s $100,000, and it’s going to address a limited number of issues, but it’s nowhere near what they need.”

The club leadership is beginning a strategic planning project, but in the interim funds will go to urgent needs ranging from security issues to the gymnasium ceiling.

“Our facility is aging and challenged, and we have to maintain our current facility as we are re-envisioning our future,” said executive director Jessie Damroth.

The club serves children from every town and elementary school on the Island. About 130 children arrive at the facility every day for the after school program. Annual membership costs $20 per child. In addition to the after school program with tutoring and activities, there are also athletics with youth soccer, golf and basketball programs. The club employs bilingual staff, hosts a teen girls’ discussion group, and switches out kids’ old shoes and jackets for new ones when they need them.

Camp Jabberwocky received a grant for $400,000 for major renovations. — Thomas Hausthor

Vineyard Family Tennis was awarded an emergency grant of $250,000 last fall after its bubble structure collapsed during a March northeaster. The tennis dome collapse came as the nonprofit was undergoing significant changes. For 20 years, the program offered free tennis lessons to youth courtesy of a single  donor, Gerald DeBlois of West Tisbury. Mr. DeBlois announced last year he would no longer be the program’s single funder, prompting a fundamental change in the operating model.

Vineyard Family Tennis executive director Chris Scott said adults have already begun to to join the new program, and 125 kids are signed up. He said the new bubble should be ready for play next week.

“Losing the year-round capability was kind of devastating. Now, we’ve got it back, and we’re so grateful to MV Youth,” Mr. Scott said. “Without the help of organizations like MV Youth I’m not really sure where we would be. We would be four seasonal courts, and you can’t sustain a program like that.”

Mr. Rappaport thanked Mr. DeBlois for making the largest donation in Vineyard history and credited Vineyard Youth Tennis with the high school tennis teams’ success.

“When you look back at the history of the program, we won seven state championships,” he said to applause and some chuckles. “State champions, it’s pretty amazing here on the Vineyard, state champions. Not just the division, not just the Cape. It’s the state.”

Camp Jabberwocky was founded in 1953 to give people with cerebral palsy a summer camp experience. Since then the camp has expanded to serve people with a wide range of disabilities from June to August every year. The camp is staffed almost entirely by volunteers and keeps a camper to counselor ratio of one to one.

Kelsey Cosby, director of outreach, said the new building the funding will support includes a commercial kitchen and a roomier dining area. She said it will better serve campers and counselors and will be able to host programs for Island children through the winter. Jabberwocky and the Island Grown Initiative have partnered to offer youth programs from September to May in the new space. Ms. Cosby said the Vineyard has given a lot to the camp over the last 66 years.

“This really feels like the first time that we can truly tangibly give back and impact, at this point, thousands of youth on the Vineyard thanks to IGI,” Ms. Cosby said.

In addition to providing expansion grants for youth-oriented organizations, MV Youth provides college scholarships for high school seniors. A new program will also provide grants to youth who opt not to go to college to help them gain work force skills. Founded in 2014 with 40 donors who each agreed to provide $100,000 over four years, the fund has since expanded to 70 donors. MV Youth has expanded opportunities for Island kids for everything from violin-playing to skateboarding.

MV Youth spends 65 per cent of donations on expansion grants, 30 per cent on college scholarships for high school seniors and 5 per cent on work force development. Mr. Rappaport said 40 applications for college scholarships had come in this year.

“This is a delightful part of the process,” he said of the grant celebration. “Tonight is a wonderful moment.”